The Warriors could be back at Mt Smart Stadium before too long, with the NRL planning for a return to Auckland in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw Auckland miss out on hosting any NRL matches this year, with the Warriors forced to play out of Australia. However, the NRL today allocated 11 of the Warriors' 2021 home games to Mt Smart, in the hope the borders will be reopened in time for the club to be based in Auckland next season.
The draw pencilled in the Warriors to launch their 27th season with back-to-back home games in the opening two rounds against the Gold Coast Titans (March 13) and the Newcastle Knights (March 19).
The competition's scheduling will be impacted by whether a transtasman bubble is in place. New Zealand and Australia will host their own Super Rugby competitions, but will also play in a transtasman edition in May - indicating the hope borders will be open by then.
Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V'landys confirmed the initial 2021 draw had been scheduled in anticipation of a transtasman bubble being in place before the beginning of the season.
"We're very confident international borders will be open by that stage," he said on Wednesday.
"The [Covid-19] vaccine is imminent, or we hope it is, and we've got zero community infection. Every decision we've taken at the NRL we've done on the scientific data and medical advice.
"[Our biosecurity expert] tells us we will be playing games in New Zealand in the first round, we have to take that advice. It's been zero infections for 30 days in New South Wales and 28 days in Victoria. If it stays like that we don't have a problem.
"If it doesn't happen, we have contingencies in place for all scenarios."
Warriors chief executive Cameron George remained optimistic.
"We have always said our priority is to be playing at home in front of our families, members and fans in 2021," he said.
"While the Covid-19 situation has meant planning for all possibilities, being back at Mt Smart is our top wish. We couldn't think of anything better after being forced to play away from home for the whole of this season.
"We have no control of any decisions around transtasman border policy, but as of today we're delighted that the NRL has officially allocated all our home games to Mt Smart."